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"Mamie" from Country Gentleman

by Ellis Parker Butler
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from Country Gentleman
by Ellis Parker Butler

Young Sam Morhus was shifting the cold frames to let in air, when he looked up and saw the big drab bulk of the elephant in the road in front of the farm.

"Hey, pa!" he shouted excitedly. "Come out here; there's an elephant!"

Ben Morhus came from the wagon shed and looked, but the house hid the elephant from him.

"A what?" he asked.

"An elephant -- down there in the road," Sam said. "Come over here and you can see it."

"You're crazy," said Ben Morhus. "What you think this is, April Fool day?" But he walked toward Sam and then he, too, saw the elephant. "By gollies, it is an elephant!" he exclaimed, and he started for the road where the elephant stood weaving slowly from side to side. Sam followed him and passed him and reached the elephant first, but he stood at a decent distance from it. He was not afraid, but he had never been introduced to that particular elephant.

The elephant did not exactly harmonize with the landscape, which was entirely rural and agricultural in nature, for it introduced an India-pageant motif into what was otherwise a distinctively Iowa scene. The elephant was a large one -- about size 9 if you rate Jumbo as size 12 -- and seemed to be of the placid variety and not man-eating, having no tusks. The elephant was, furthermore, in full regalia, having a huge red velveteen blanket vastly embroidered in gold, silver, royal blue and yellow, including even the headpiece with gold fringe. It was as if the maharaja's pet had been decked for a durbar but had taken the wrong road and unexpectedly found itself in Winnemucca County instead of in Delhi.

From behind the off rear leg of the elephant a man who had been hooking a heavy chain around that leg now arose and walked around the elephant. He carried a longish pole with an iron hook and sharp point.

"How-do!" he said in a friendly way. "Need any elephants today, mister?"

Ben Morhus was pretty sure he knew a joke when he heard one.

"Well, not very many -- not today," he replied. "I guess I can get along with what I got."

The gentleman in charge of the elephant was a rather stout man and red in the face, but he seemed to be good-natured and friendly and companionable.

"Well, how about a cook, then?" he asked. "Want any cooks?"

"I got a wife and a couple of girls will do me, I guess," said Ben Morhus. "You a cook?"

"And a Jim J. Dandy, too," said the man. "Cook anything, wholesale or retail; cook you anything from one hot dog to five bushels of potatoes at a whop. Ain't been an elephant buyer through here lately?"

"Not what you'd call lately," said Mr. Morhus. "Ain't been anybody asking for elephants the last twenty or thirty years, far as I know."

"Well, I didn't think there'd be," said the elephant man philosophically. "I just asked. Now, if you did want to buy a nice well-broke elephant I'd let you have one at a bargain -- a real bargain."

"Is he for sale?" asked young Sam eagerly, because a boy surely does have crazy hopes sometimes.

"Well, now, son," said the elephant man, "this ain't that kind of an elephant; this elephant's name is Mamie. But for sale she is! Yes, sir. You ain't got," he asked, turning to Ben Morhus, "no woodland you want forests cleared off from, have you? We can do you a good job, cheap, me and Mamie. Yank a tree out in no time. Or maybe you've got a house you want moved? All we want is a fair chance and no favors. We got to live."

"Where'd you get her?" asked Ben Morhus, moving around the elephant to see her from all sides. The man moved with him.

"Took her for wages," said the man. "My name's Grannon -- Orley Grannon. I've got a bill of sale for her, all proper and fine. Jim Crink's circus busted up and he owed me wages. I was his cook and it was a case of take what you could get or get nothing. So I took Mamie. Jim throwed in the blanket and all, because it wouldn't fit his wife's poodle anyway. Now --"

"How you come to be away out here in the country?" asked Ben Morhus.

"That's funny-like too," said Orley Grannon. "It seems like the man Crink owed money to sent the attachment to the sheriff of this county because the show was going to show at Winnemucca Center, but the sheriff was so up-and-coming he went to the county line and flagged the train as soon as it got into this county. So that's where she busted up, but I know a thing or two; a wage debt comes ahead of anything and I was let to take Mamie. I don't know," he added doubtfully, "that I'm much better off. If you look at it one way an elephant ain't just the same as ready cash. I aim to write around here and there and find out who wants to buy an elephant, but -- whoa, now!"

Ben Morhus, his boy Sam and Mr. Grannon stood back from Mamie because she was giving unmistakable signs that she was going to do something. She leaned forward, lowering her head and bending her fore legs at the knees, and with the utmost dignity placed her forehead on the road. Then with extreme cautiousness she raised her hind legs, elevating her vast body, until she was standing on her head with her hind legs in the air. Sam Morhus gave a glad cheer, but his father grasped him by the arm and pulled him back.

"Look out, Sam!" his father said. "She might fall over on you!"

Orley Grannon also stepped back. He seemed as surprised as Mr. Morhus to see Mamie standing on her head.

"Look at that, now!" he exclaimed. "Ain't that pretty? Ain't that nice? Why, bless her brittle bones, she's a trick elephant!"

"Didn't you know it?" asked Mr. Morhus.

"How'd I know it?" asked Mr. Grannon. "All I knew was that Jim Crick said she was as gentle as a kitten; I never had time to look at his circus. I'm a cook, not an audience. And she stands on her head, the dear old thing! Say, mister, ain't that a pretty picture? Just as nice!"

As slowly as before Mamie lowered her hind legs, raised her head, straightened her fore legs and stood at rest. The gay blanket, which had slid down around her neck, was now bunched just back of her ears and Orley Grannon began dragging it back into place on her back. Mr. Morhus, with a farmer's natural inclination to help another, lent a hand and Sam was quick to take the chance to have something to do with the elephant.

"Say, honest to gosh!" said Mr. Grannon eagerly, "maybe old Jimmy Crink didn't sting me so bad after all. I didn't know I had a fancy trained elephant. He said gentle as a kitten, but did you see her? On her head, or I'm a liar!"

Ben Morhus spat into the road as sophisticatedly as anybody.

"You bet your eye she stood on her head!" he said. "That's some elephant, I'll tell you!"

"Look! She's going to do it again!" cried young Sam, and do it again she did. With deliberate care Mamie swayed forward, lowering her head and bending her knees.

Carefully she placed her forehead on the ground, and slowly her hindquarters arose in the air until she was again a perfect example of an elephant standing on its head. Not altogether, however, a thing of beauty. Her gay blanket slumped down until it was massed over her ears and her huge body bagged down like a partly filled hot-water bottle of huge size. All her interior apparatus seemed to slump out of place until she was as broad and misshapen as a June toad.

"Look at her!" cried Mr. Grannon enthusiastically. "Ain't she a beauty? Ain't she a cure for sore eyes? Mamie, you're an old darling! Ain't she a cute thing? She just knew we were talking about her and she wanted to show us what she could do. Yes, sir; you're a good old girl. But get down now; you'll run all your blood to your head."

But Mamie did not get down. She remained wrong end up. She appeared to be in growing distress, her sides began to tremble, she panted through her recurved trunk, her hind legs waved uncertainly in the air.

"Down! Down, Mamie!" ordered Mr. Grannon.

"Down!" cried young Sam.

But Mamie would not down. Her flanks began to heave enormously and she was in evident distress, if not in pain, and she seemed to be looking at Mr. Grannon appealingly with the one eye that was toward him.

"Trouble is," said Mr. Grannon with annoyance, "these trainers have one sign to make an elephant do a thing and one to make it stop doing it, and I don't know what the signs are. Look out!"

It was time to look out, for Mamie had reached the limit of elephantine endurance and she toppled sideways and fell on her side with a heavy thump. For a moment she lay, breathing deeply; then she slowly got to her feet, sent a wave of quivers over her body and resumed her patient swaying from side to side. Mr. Grannon and Ben Morhus and young Sam hastened to replace the gaudy blanket.

Mr. Morhus was glad to be able to help Mr. Grannon with the blanket. When he had first approached the road Mr. Morhus had done so in a spirit of unfriendly curiosity because persons connected with circuses are apt to be gruff and superior with outsiders, answering in curt words, but Mr. Grannon was evidently not that sort of circus person.

"The trouble with me," he said now, "is that I don't know a blame thing about elephants."

"They're afraid of mice," said young Sam eagerly.

"What is?" asked Mr. Grannon.

"Elephants," said young Sam. "And there are two kinds, Asian and African."

"Mice?" asked Mr. Grannon.

"No, elephants," said young Sam.

"I thought it couldn't be mice," said Mr. Grannon, "because it seems to me there are more than two kinds of mice. What kind of elephant do you think this Mamie is, son?"

"She's an India elephant, from Asia," said young Sam promptly. "You can tell by the ears."

"Hear that, now!" exclaimed Mr. Grannon with admiration.

"Sam is a great reader," said his father proudly.

"They eat hay," said Sam.

"Oh, I knew that!" said Mr. Grannon.

"Heavy eaters, ain't they?" asked Mr. Morhus.

Mr. Grannon looked at Mamie speculatively.

"I ain't fed her yet, since I got her," said Mr. Grannon, "but I guess she don't eat so much either. Look at the little mouth on her for her size. And then there's whales -- fellow told me whales are bigger than elephants and how they don't eat nothing but shrimps or something like that, half as big as your little finger. I guess she don't eat so much. Looks to me as if she was one of these kinds of animals that get along all right with a little food as long as they get calories and vitamins and them sort of bugs in it."

"We got lots of hay," said Ben Morhus as if thoughtfully. "I guess our hay has got as much of them calories and vitamins as any hay you'd run across."

"I bet it has," agreed Mr. Grannon.

"How do you figger that elephant would work out in horse power," asked Mr. Morhus, "compared alongside of a tractor with hay twenty-eight dollars a ton and gasoline eighteen cents a gallon?"

Mr. Grannon looked doubtful.

"Well I ain't never figured Mamie out that way," he said. How many horse power can you get out of a gallon of gas?"

"I don't know," said Mr. Morhus.

"Well, that makes it sort of hard to figger out," said Mr. Grannon. "I don't know how many horse power Mamie can get out of a ton of hay neither. Did you have anything in mind?"

"I was wondering, Sam," Mr. Morhus said, turning to his son, "if maybe we couldn't use this elephant animal to plow up them eighty acres we been letting run to weed since gran'pa died. I do hate to put them colts against that sod with a breaking plow. Now, if we could hitch up this animal with a gang plow and turn four furrows at a time we could get it done in a hurry. If this gentleman ain't in any great rush --"

"Not me! "said Mr. Grannon promptly. "And maybe you'll want to keep Mamie, once you give her a try."

"It ain't likely," said Mr. Morhus. "I don't see many farmers using elephants -- not in Iowa anyway."

"Oh, Iowa --!" said Mr. Grannon. "In India, now, they use lots of elephants. I've seen pictures. The trouble with Iowa --"

"What's the trouble with Iowa? demanded Mr. Morhus rather warningly.

"Nothing! Nothing!" said Mr. Grannon hastily. "What I mean is that the farmers over here don't get a fair chance at elephants; what the circuses don't get the parks grab up. For all I know, friend, elephants might be just what a farmer out here needs."

"Might be," admitted Mr. Morhus. "How do they winter?"

"Fine!" declared Mr. Grannon. "Fine as silk! Better than giraffes by a long sight. If Mamie was a giraffe I'd be honest with you; I wouldn't advise you to try to winter her -- not in this climate. Giraffes get colds in their throats, and they've got throats ten feet long. But look at Mamie -- she ain't even got a neck."

"And -- and, pa," cried young Sam excitedly, "if she does pan out you could start a herd and raise them, pa!"

"Yes," said Mr. Grannon, but not enthusiastically, "there might be something in that too. They grow kind of slow."

"I'd have to study that a while first, son," said Mr. Morhus. "One thing at a time. What would you say," he asked Mr. Grannon, "to eight dollars a day, you and the elephant, whilst you plow up the eighty acres?"

"Eight dollars and feed?"

"Eight dollars and feed and board and lodging," said Mr. Morhus.

"That would suit me first-rate," said Mr. Grannon.

"It's a bargain," said Mr. Morhus, and Sam turned and ran toward the house shouting, "Ma! Ma! We've got an elephant! We've got an elephant!"

It is indeed a question why more elephants are not used by the farmers of the United States, for they are animals of great strength. They are also durable animals and not easily damaged. Mr. Morhus was a practical farmer and not given to mad innovations, but he did feel a flame of excitement as Mr. Grannon steered Mamie into the cow lot the other side of the barn where a half-consumed stack of last year's hay stood. He remembered how Luther Burbank had found a pod of seed of the Early Rose potato and created the splendid Burbank; how the Shorthorn had been introduced, to the elimination of the Longhorn; how new wheat, new apples, new strains of horseflesh had been experimented with and proved worthy. All these had been great aids to the farmer and it was possible that there were no elephants in American agriculture merely because no one had thought of elephants.

In this experiment with an elephant Mr. Morhus meant to proceed in a scientific and systematic way. There was no doubt that an elephant could pull a plow, but so, too, could a team of rabbits -- if there were enough rabbits -- but plow-pulling rabbits would not be economically desirable. The cabbages devoured by rabbits, the time required to harness them to a plow and their low horse power made rabbits inferior to horses or tractors for plowing.

When Mrs. Morhus and her daughter Ella had sufficiently exclaimed over Mamie and had gone back to the house, taking the gay blanket with them, Mr. Morhus carefully estimated the quantity of hay left in the stack in the cow yard and jotted it down in his notebook. He then sent Sam to the house for a pile of tractor catalogues, and when Sam had brought them Mr. Morhus and Mr. Grannon sat on a box and figured the cost of plowing eighty acres of sod land by tractor, reduced to gallons of gasoline at eighteen cents per gallon, plus oil.

In the meanwhile Mamie was eating hay. Even Mr. Grannon was surprised by the way Mamie ate hay. For an animal with such a small mouth she seemed able to take a great deal of hay at a time. She stood in front of the haystack in an attitude that seemed to express continuity of effort, as if it was her intention -- now that she was there -- to keep right on the job until the haystack was gone.

"She does eat hay, don't she?" said Mr. Morhus.

"I guess maybe she's sort of hollow," said Mr. Grannon, who was also annoyed by the way Mamie was eating hay. "I shouldn't wonder if Jim Crink hadn't been letting her get sort of empty, being hard up like he was. Maybe if we get her filled up once all she'll need will be a little hay put into her, say, morning and night. Fill her up and then keep her filled up, see?"

"I hope so," said Mr. Morhus.

Having carefully calculated the cost per acre of gang-plowing eighty acres, based on the catalogue statements of six different makes of tractors, Mr. Morhus said he would drive over to Henry Gimmel's and borrow his gang plow which turned four furrows at a time.

"I'll be back by noon," he said, "and we'll eat, and then we'll try her out on the eighty acres. By that time she ought to be filled up."

"That's fair," said Mr. Grannon. "That's fair and reasonable. It wouldn't be fair to put her up against them tractor figures until she was filled up and in good efficiency."

"I aim to give her a fair try out," said Mr. Morhus and he went to harness his colts. The colts, incidentally, when they came out of the stable and saw Mamie, ran away for four miles, but the colts were naturally skittish. When Mr. Morhus returned with the gang plow they had quieted down quite a little and merely snorted and danced while Mamie was in view. Henry Gimmel had come with Mr. Morhus and they drove to the eighty-acre field with the gang plow and left it there, and then all went in to eat.

When they had eaten -- and Mr. Grannon appeared to have been almost as empty as Mamie -- the three men and Sam proceeded to the cow yard again. Mrs. Morhus and Ella did not seem to be interested in elephants.

The men went first to the barn and Mr. Morhus made a raid on his harness room. Although Mr. Grannon was rather vague regarding elephants, he did seem to remember that the pachyderm's power-concentration point was its frontal bone or forehead. In the circus he had seen elephants push wagons, but a plow has to be pulled, and he thought he remembered seeing a picture of an elephant in harness, a heavy strap over its forehead taking the place of a yoke such as Mr. Gimmel suggested. Mr. Morhus and Mr. Gimmel hurriedly devised a harness while Mr. Grannon expressed admiration of the way in which they cut straps, hammered rivets and connected ropes and hooks.

When the job was completed the three men and Sam went to the cow yard. Mamie stood as, they had left her, swaying gently, but the haystack had almost vanished, and she was still using her prehensile hay press, bundling hay and tucking the wads into her mouth. One would have said she was just getting fairly started. Mr. Grannon pushed her side with the heel of one of his hands.

"She's filling up fine," he said. "Can't hardly dent her."

"Yes, yes!" said Mr. Morhus hastily after a glance at the haystack. "Come now, Sam -- Henry -- Grannon, let's get this harness on her and get to work. Can't be forever getting to work. Henry, what do you think of her?"

"She's big," said Mr. Gimmel. "I'll say that for her -- she's big."

"And strong -- oh, my!" said Mr. Grannon. "You wait!"

"Yes, sir," said Mr. Morhus, "I shouldn't wonder if this was going to be a historic day for Iowa. I do wish we had a camera here, Henry, so this scene wouldn't be lost."

When Mr. Grannon had given Mamie a prod or two with the point of his special prodder she seemed to have no objection whatever to moving in the direction he indicated. Perhaps she thought she was being escorted to a fresher and larger stack of hay. With Sam and Mr. Grannon at her head and Mr. Morhus and Mr. Gimmel holding the far ends of the harness, they all proceeded to the eighty acres, where the gang plow awaited them. Mamie swung around in front of the plow and backed up to it as if she had done nothing all her life but pull plows. Mr. Grannon was delighted.

"Ain't that pretty?" he demanded. "Ain't she sweet and nice? Just as lovely and pretty as a machine! Now, where do you want to plow first?"

"Down along this fence, to the end of it," said Mr. Morhus, mounting the seat of the plow in order to manage the levers, although he had no reins. "All right, Mr. Grannon, let's go!"

"Yup there! Come on, Mamie! Get up!" ordered Mr. Grannon.

The intelligent animal seemed to understand. Very carefully she leaned forward; with deliberation she lowered her head; slowly her foreknees bent; she placed her head on a clump of daisies, straightened her curved spinal column, raised her hind legs in the air and stood on her head. Mr. Morhus leaped from the seat of the plow and ran a few yards. Mr. Grannon waved his prodder and shouted.

"Down! Down!" he cried, but "Down!" did not seem to be the word needed. Mamie remained inverted, undoubtedly waiting for the word that did not come. Her vast hay-filled interior began to slump toward her head, the veins of her trunk swelled, her legs began to quiver, she breathed hard, but she was a faithful animal and she had been well trained; she waited for the word. Mr. Grannon threw down his prodder and ran to the plow and began unhitching it.

"Quick! Quick!" he called. "Get this unhitched! How do I know which way she'll fall?" and Mr. Morhus and Mr. Gimmel ran to help him. They had just time to unhitch the plow and roll it back when Mamie fell sideways with a heavy "whoosh!" that sent the dust flying. She lay on her side a minute or two, panting hard, and then arose and shook her head as if to say, "That was a hard one, but I did it; what next?"

"Now, ain't that funny?" said Mr. Grannon with some annoyance. "I must have said something to make her do that."

"You said 'Get up,' and she got up," said young Sam.

"Well, I won't say 'Get up,'" said Mr. Grannon. "I won't say anything; you say it."

"I'll say 'Get along, there!'" said young Sam. "That don't mean 'Stand on your head!' I bet you!"

So they hitched the plow to Mamie again and Mr. Grannon stood far to one side and Mr. Morhus clambered to the plow seat.

"Get along, there!" shouted young Sam. "Get along, there!"

Mamie leaned her head against the strap, the plow moved, Mr. Morhus drove the points of the plowshares into the sod. Four beautiful furrows appeared behind the plow; they lengthened to a yard, to two yards --

Mamie's left hind leg this time caught in the rope trace and the plow turned on its side, discarding Mr. Morhus.

Mamie stopped, flapped one huge ear, leaned forward, bent her knees, put her forehead to the ground and stood on her head. Her left hind leg this time caught in the rope trace and the plow turned on its side, discarding Mr. Morhus. He fell on his hands and knees. Thus he scrambled to safety. Mamie, after an interval during which Mr. Grannon shouted a number of synonyms of the word "down," fell on her left side with a noise that was more like "thunk!" than "whoosh!" because the ground was harder here.

Mr. Morhus got to his feet, brushing his hands together.

"If you ask me," he said, "I think this is a dickens of a way to plow. I don't say that if I had an elephant that wasn't a dumb fool -- look at her, will you?"

Mamie, having got to her feet, was bending her knees and lowering her head. With her customary deliberate gravity of demeanor she placed her frontal bone on the surface of the field, straightened her back and stood on her head. She stood thus until her chest heaved and then she fell heavily on her right side. She lay there panting for what seemed fully three minutes; then she got to her feet, shook herself, looked at Mr. Grannon appealingly, and stood on her head again. She stood on her head until her sides began to tremble and then she fell on her left side and lay panting. Mr. Grannon ran and sat on her head,

"You ain't ever going to get this field plowed at this rate," said Mr. Gimmel. "What's the matter with her, anyhow?"

Nothing's the matter with her," said Mr. Grannon, defending his elephant. "It's a trick she learned and she thinks we want her to do it. Lay still, you big lunatic! It's her sweet nature. She's trying to give us her best."

"Well, that kind of sweet nature ain't much good to get a field plowed with," said Mr. Gimmel. "If I had a horse that stood on its head whenever I hitched it to a plow, I'd shoot it. There ain't nothing in this elephant plowing, Ben. I'm going back home; I ain't got time to loaf around and see an elephant stand on its head every ten feet all over an eighty-acre field."

"You're dead right!" declared Mr. Morhus. "I'm through, too. I'll fetch your plow back this evening --"

"As far as that goes," said Mr. Grannon, "you can have your own way. Only, a bargain is a bargain. Mamie and me get eight dollars a day and board and feed and lodging until this eighty acres is plowed up by us, and don't you forget that, mister. Here we are, ready and willing, according to contract."

"Say --" began Mr. Morhus.

"Here we are, me and Mamie, according to contract," repeated Mr. Grannon stubbornly. "You knew she stood on her head now and again; you saw her. Eight dollars a day was the bargain. We're ready when you're ready. Eight dollars a day until the field is plowed."

Mr. Gimmel unhooked the tangled rope traces from the plow. Mr. Morhus' bargains meant nothing to him.

"We're here," said Mr. Grannon, "in the field and ready to plow. We'll stay here at eight dollars a day, too. And any time you are ready to plow, we are ready. And we get feed and board. You can fetch my meals to me, and you can fetch Mamie's hay to --"

"Hay? Hay?" cried Mr. Morhus. "There ain't enough hay in the state of Iowa to feed that elephant long enough to get this field plowed!"

"That's nothing to me," said Mr. Grannon. "You can get some from Illinois or Nebraska. Or alfalfa, if Mamie'll eat it."

Mamie, with Mr. Grannon sitting on her head, seemed content to remain as she was indefinitely. She was breathing placidly now, now and then raising her free ear a little and letting it fall back. She reached for a daisy clump with her trunk, pulled it from the soil and ate it. Mr. Grannon felt in his pocket and found a pipe and filled it and lighted it.

"Do you think she'll stand on her head again if we try her again?" asked Mr. Morhus.

"How do I know?" asked Mr. Grannon. "It's likely. I don't know how to stop her and I never did."

Mr. Morhus looked at Mamie gloomily. Mr. Gimmel pulled at his plow, trying to right it onto its wheels. Young Sam, as a boy does when his elders dispute, kicked at clumps of weed with the toe of his shoe. Mr. Morhus saw practical ruin staring him in his face. The eight dollars a day might go on for years; hundreds of tons of hay might have to be fed into Mamie's interior. But there was nothing to be done about it. His shoulders slumped and a look of deep dejection came upon his face.

"All right, Henry," he said to Mr. Gimmel, "we'll try it again."

Mr. Grannon got off of Mamie's head and the intelligent animal immediately arose. She also leaned forward, put her forehead to the ground and raised her bulky body in the air, her hind legs bent, and arose.

"Contemn it!" exclaimed Mr. Morhus, using his strongest oath, and young Sam kicked another weed. Almost instantly everything changed. As if a spring had snapped Mamie brought her hind legs to the ground and raised her trunk high in the air, uttering a shrill scream. She plunged once like a bucking bronco and with her trunk pushed Mr. Grannon aside and then, screaming madly, made for the nearest fence and tore through it toward the road. When she reached the road she turned east and continued on her way in a wild lope, now and then screaming again and still waving her trunk in the air. Mr. Grannon scrambled to his feet and stared after his elephant and then ran after her as fast as his rather bulky body permitted. Minutes later Mr. Morhus and Mr. Gimmel heard the screams of Mamie die away in the far distance.

"Well, what in the land do you ever suppose happened to that elephant, Henry?" asked Mr. Morhus as he turned his amazed face to his neighbor.

"You should care, Ben," said Mr. Gimmel. "You've got rid of her, and that's the main thing."

"Pa," said young Sam, "I know what happened to her. I know, pa. I kicked a field mouse out of that weed. Elephants is afraid of mice, pa."

Mr. Morhus looked at young Sam benevolently.

"Sam's a great reader," he told Mr. Gimmel proudly. "And yet there's some folks say it don't pay to educate the kids. Where'd I been if Sam hadn't read about elephants, I'd like to know!"

"That's right!" agreed Mr. Gimmel. "Where would you been?"



Saturday, October 07 at 1:19:51am USA Central
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